Phew! The Election Issue is finally done, culminating a few intense weeks of research and decision-making.

I’d been here only a matter of weeks when the June election arrived, so we had a narrow focus: contested local races. This time, we’re more ambitious. We’ve covered—and made recommendations on—every district and statewide race, plus the biggest ones in Chico. (We didn’t branch out to Paradise or Oroville, or to Chico’s recreation board; maybe next time around!)

Our endorsement meeting had a lot of consensus but also some close calls. Here are the races where we might have gone another way had someone phoned in sick:

City Council—There isn’t a bad candidate in the field, so the third slot prompted a lot of discussion. (Mary Flynn and Scott Gruendl were shoo-ins, for reasons mentioned in our endorsements.)

I like Tom Nickell personally and agree with many of his ideas—just not quite enough to override the feeling that a lopsided majority, liberal or conservative, is not in the city’s best interest. Healthy debate will be vital as Chico grapples with growth and budget issues over the next several years.

It’s for this reason that Mark Sorensen got the nod. I respect Dan Herbert, and away from council chambers I find him to be a reasonable man even when we disagree. Too often on the dais, however, passion gets the best of him. The council needs more members with self-restraint, to set a more constructive tone and, just maybe, keep the big meetings from dragging on to the point of exhaustion.

School boardAny combination of these candidates would benefit the Chico district, so this was the toughest decision. All are qualified—in fact, Kathleen Kaiser is probably overqualified. The balance we struck: incumbent Rick Rees and parent/educators Kaiser and Andrea Lerner Thompson.

The endorsements are affirmations, not knocks on the other three. Anthony Watts is a dedicated board member with some progressive ideas. Todd Sturgis wants to be the voice of the parents, and from what I’ve heard from him, he would be a good one. Gene Lucas is both cutting-edge and old-fashioned, advocating for classroom technology and handwriting lessons with the same conviction.

Whatever happens Nov. 7, the school board should be in good shape.

Governor—Here is the formula that yielded our endorsement: Schwarzenegger + Camejo = Angelides.

Yes, the Governator got serious consideration, for his growth as a leader and his stances on the environment and a number of social issues. I just fear the moderate Arnold we’re seeing this election year could take a swing to the right.

Peter Camejo’s thinking has impressed me, and I love the idea of a third-party candidate in the statehouse. But, realistically, how would he lead with no support in the Legislature? The Green Party isn’t likely to get many seats, and the man is hardly a force of nature.

So that leaves Phil Angelides. Despite my misgivings about his leadership potential, his head is in the right place, and if elected he’ll have the political support to get things done.

Hardly a ringing endorsement, I know. Compromise is inherent in politics … and on editorial boards as well.